Intesa Sanpaolo has cancelled plans to combine with the country’s largest insurer, Assicurazioni Generali, saying an amalgamation would not create value for its shareholders. A merger would have created an Italian financial giant with a market capitalisation of around 60 billion euros. Intesa’s decision not to join forces leaves Generali open to a takeover from an overseas investor. Political weakness in Rome and management changes at Generali fuelled talk of a buyout, with Axa, Allianz and Zurich Insurance Group reportedly interested. AXA has since confirmed it is not pursuing any major deals. Intesa announced last month it was examining a possible industrial combination with Generali after media reports pushed it to reveal its intentions. Intesa have since announced that, “The management has completed the assessment and sees no opportunities fulfilling the criteria set for the group’s growth options.” Intesa cited value creation for its shareholders and the intention to maintain one of the strongest capital bases among Italian lenders as its criteria for possible M&A options. Intesa’s shareholders had responded coolly to the idea of a merger, with its shares dropping 16% since its interest in Generali was revealed. The insurer’s stock rose 3% over the same period.